SriLankan Airlines A330-300 Business Class isn’t like anything I’ve experienced in the sky before. Sure, the lie-flat seat is similar to many Business products out there, Champagne is served before takeoff and the crew are attentive and polite. But that’s where the similarities end.

Let’s see. There’s the female crew’s turquoise and orange saris, elaborate hairdos and Bollywood-style makeup. There’s the fiery and authentic Sri Lankan cuisine, not dumbed down for Western palates in the slightest. Really, though, it’s the feel of the experience that sets SriLankan apart.

After five incredible days in Belgium, I fly home from London to Melbourne via Colombo – both flights in Business Class on the A330-300. I can only describe the experience as exotic, infused with Sri Lankan culture and cuisine in a way that makes SriLankan Airlines utterly unique.

Keen to know more? Then keep reading, as I explore every detail of my flight from Colombo to Melbourne below.

Also read: Beautiful Belgium: fly Business Class to Europe with JAL on points

Check-in, lounge and boarding

As a transiting passenger arriving from London, I’m already airside at Colombo Bandaranaike International Airport and have my onward boarding pass to Melbourne in hand. With hours to kill, I take up residence in SriLankan Airlines’ flagship Serendib Lounge. Passing through the elaborate carved wooden doors, I discover what is essentially a square room. There’s a wall of windows lined with dining tables, a buffet on the righthand wall and a bar stationed somewhere in the middle.

I swing by for a glass of Champagne, before hitting up the buffet – twice. Hey, when in Colombo. As I’ve learned from my earlier flight in SriLankan Business, the food is spicy. On my first pass I go the curry and samosa route, regretting my decision soon afterwards when an incurable burning takes up residence on my tongue. Next round, I steer feebly towards the Western options, blushing inwardly as I sample the bland pasta and non-descript cakes. It’s time to board.

Security conducted at the gate is hectic, with passengers pushing against one another in the hope of collecting their shoes or wallets from the belt first. A second haphazard queue forms to enter the gate itself, though with a wave of my Business Class boarding pass I’m ushered through first.

I station myself beside the entrance to the aerobridge, prepared to spring up at a moment’s notice once boarding is called. I do just that, and I’m one of the first Business Class passengers onboard. When you’re a travel writer tasked with capturing content, it pays to be prepared.

SriLankan Airlines Airbus A330-300 seating

The Airbus A330-300 is SriLankan’s flagship Business Class product, with 28 suites in a fairly typical 1-2-1 reverse herringbone layout. For my 10-hour Colombo to Melbourne flight, I nab Suite 1K on the bulkhead. It’s airy and open – the opposite of my slightly claustrophobic window ‘Sky Suite’ in JAL 787 Business. The SriLankan Business cabin itself follows suit, with cream tones offset by pops of navy and turquoise blue. Patterned soft furnishings and vibrant carpet contribute to the colourful and airy feel.

But this sense of openness has its drawbacks. With the seat upright there is almost zero privacy, with the suite completely exposed to the aisle – and the galley, in my case. Once you convert the seat into a flatbed, however, the privacy noticeably improves. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves.

The leather seat itself is cushy and comfortable, with a generous pillow and cloth-adorned headrest further sweetening the deal. I’m also pleasantly surprised by the storage situation. When you travel heavy as I do, you need somewhere to stash that second handbag.

To my left I discover a small angled table, sufficient to keep my water bottle and phone close at hand. The generous tray table pops out from this left-hand console, while beneath it a small compartment fits a few petite goodies comfortably.

In terms of legroom, my legs only just reach the footwell. There’s also an elevated platform in front to support my legs when they’re outstretched. Overall, I find the design comfortable and intuitive – not always a given in Business Class suites. Consider me impressed.

Now let’s talk recline. Using the nearby seat control panel, after dinner I convert my seat into a lie-flat bed. There’s no mattress pad on offer – and the blanket’s thin – so I’m not expecting the soundest of sleeps. But the bed is in fact very comfy. I’m pleasantly surprised to clock up a refreshing six hours (self-provided eye mask and earplugs firmly in place). Sometimes, a good six hours can trump a mediocre nine.

SriLankan Airlines Airbus A330-300 food & beverage


Before takeoff, one of my favourite Business Class rituals occurs: a crew member swings past with a glass of Champagne. It’s Joseph Perrier in this instance – not to be confused with the more well-known Champagne houses of Laurent Perrier and Perrier-Jouët. But it’s equally deserving of renown, with a brightness I find uplifting.

Unfortunately, once I peruse the drinks menu things take a turn for the worse. There are two still wines listed: ‘red wine’ and ‘white wine’. As someone who can’t bear a wine list that doesn’t name the vintage, to not even name the producer is like a punch in the face. But when I enquire, my crew member partly salvages things by mentioning that the two red wines are Australian shirazes, while the sauvignon blanc and chardonnay are from Chile.

As fortune would have it, the Chilean chardonnay is the 2022 Carmen single vineyard ‘Gran Reserva’. It’s smooth and vanilla-heavy – in the best possible way. Plump, delicious cashews accompany the wine. They’re so good, in fact, that I’ve not looked at a cashew the same way since.

Of course, not everyone is as obsessed with wine as I am. And naturally, there’s other alcohol and drinks on offer too. A range of spirits, liqueurs, sherry, beers, fruit juices and soft drinks are yours for the taking.

But SriLankan Airlines Business is also known for its tea menu. And I can attest it’s a ritual worth beholding, with the tea poured from a lovely silver teapot resting on a decorative silver tray.

Too enamoured with the Champagne to snap a pic, I capture one of the chardonnay and winning cashews instead.


Along with most of the world, I’m a fan of Indian cuisine. But Sri Lankan cuisine, of course, is its own separate thing. Shortly before this trip, I visited my first ever Sri Lankan restaurant here in Melbourne and was blown away – literally and figuratively – by the level of spice.

So when the dinner menu rolls around, I’m wary. But I’m also reviewing SriLankan Airlines Business Class, and I’m not about to be the schmuck who orders only Western food and then complains about the lack of authenticity. So I gamely choose the Sri Lankan red chicken curry, asking my crew member in hushed tones whether she considers the dish to be spicy.

‘That depends,’ she says. ‘Not for me.’

After just two bites I’m dying, with tears streaming my cheeks and a chilli-induced cough that disturbs nearby passengers. The basmati rice does nothing to placate the heat, and the accompanying beetroot curry is spicier still.

In my defence, I enjoy spicy food. In fact, Thai is one of my favourite cuisines. But I have my limits, and it appears I’ve hit them here.

Other mains on offer include salmon fillet with baby carrots and wild mushroom risotto, lasagne with garlic bread and mixed vegetable curry with basmati rice, vegetable cutlet and button mushroom black curry. Why serve one tongue-numbing curry, it seems, when you can serve two – in the same dish?

Cheese and crackers, fresh fruit and Sri Lankan jaggery custard pudding – an acquired taste I never acquire – round out the meal.


When I wake for breakfast, I do what I always do: wrench open the window shades and let the sunrise stream in. I’ve paid my dues, so I order the Western breakfast with my head held high.

It droops a little when I taste the rubbery mushroom omelette, with its processed chicken sausage and insipid peas. The croissant is worse still, though the strawberry yoghurt and fruit plate are rather refreshing. I finish up with a ‘freshly-brewed international coffee’ – filter coffee, in other words. It does the job.

There’s also a traditional Sri Lankan breakfast, an assorted mixed grill and a vegetarian curry on offer.

SriLankan Airlines A330-300 amenities, entertainment and service

Upon boarding, I’m greeted with an amenity kit by Aigner Parfums. The contents contains earplugs (I travel with my own ‘industrial strength’ pair from the chemist), tissues, a folding brush (I love these!), hand cream, lip balm and a dental kit. What I’d call a standard offering, without pushing the tide out into luxury or retreating so far as to not offer an amenity kit at all.

On the entertainment front, SriLankan Airlines provides its own noise-cancelling headphones. The 15.4-inch entertainment screen – safely secured for takeoff and landing – pops out with the push of a button. I find the offering to be quite good. There are 120 movies, ranging from Hollywood to Bollywood and everything in between. There are also over 50 TV channels, plus games, radio stations and a range of music.

To operate the screen, a touchscreen hand control pops out from the side panel. Beside it there’s a universal power plug, plus a USB port. You’ll also find a reading light nearby – a touch I always appreciate.

When it comes to service, I find the cabin crew from Colombo to Melbourne to be warm, attentive and genuine. Bizarrely, the crew out of London are noticeably more aloof – smiles are fake and I’m actually snapped at when I get in one crew member’s way while I wait for the bathroom. But that’s not the flight I’m reviewing here.

How to book this flight with points

With SriLankan Airlines a member of the oneworld Alliance, I book my Business Class flights from London Heathrow to Melbourne via Colombo on the Qantas website. In total, I pay 159,000 Qantas Points plus AU$921 in fees, taxes and carrier charges – on the pricey side in terms of cash co-payments.

The verdict

SriLankan Airlines A330-300 Business Class is certainly unique. While I’ve never visited Sri Lanka before, I’m struck by the level of (what I assume to be) cultural authenticity. The cabin crew’s saris are beacons of light, outshone only by their glittering eyeshadow and gleaming black hair. The traditional cuisine and cabin design sing in harmony too.

I find the seat to be comfy, the flatbed inviting and the storage options above average. Crew – on this second leg at least – are warm and welcoming, attending to my requests with a smile.

But undermining these positives is the thread of inconsistency. Sure, the sparkling wine is actual Champagne. But in this age of gastronomic enlightenment, you can’t list ‘red and white wine’ on a Business Class menu and expect to get away with it. Not when products like Qatar Qsuite feature multi-page wine lists extolling the virtues and provenance of each wine.

On the food front, it’s a mixed bag. If you’re after traditional Sri Lankan cuisine then you’re in luck, with a range of intricate and flavour-packed dishes guaranteed to trigger epic spice sweats. When it comes to Western food, though, things take a less delicious turn.

Ultimately, the good outweighs the bad – especially when it comes to the hard product. But on the ‘soft’ side, the experience could be so much better with a little fine-tuning.

All photography by Antonia Strakosch, who travelled at Point Hacks’ expense.

SriLankan Airlines Airbus A330-300 Business Class (Colombo – Melbourne) was last modified: September 22nd, 2023 by Antonia Strakosch